Given that the San Diego Chargers traded up in the first round to select a running back and the controversy that followed, we've decided to track the performance of all rookie running backs each week of the NFL season.
Now, because we're dealing with week one only, there are all sorts of qualifiers to make before we get to the actual stats. First of all, the sample size is painfully small (minimum 6 rushes is a weak threshold, though it's enough to eliminate the likes of Todd Gurley who hasn't suited up yet). Secondly, the defense-adjusted stats that we're going to look at from FootballOutsiders.com aren't adjusted for defense yet. That said, this exercise is more interesting if we follow it from the beginning instead of waiting until we have enough data to draw stronger conclusions.
So, without further ado (that was honestly too much ado), your top rookie running backs through week one:
Well, well, well. Clearly Karlos Williams is the GOAT. Or maybe he just played against a poor run defense and game script was conducive to running the ball. That seems more like it.
Melvin Gordon, as I'm sure you know, faced a ferocious defensive line and his team was playing from behind early which reduced his rushing opportunities late. He also fumbled the ball, though, and that doesn't help. Hopefully, he can get back above replacement level in week two. He certainly has plenty of room for improvement.